Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist

View of a dentist from the inside of mouth, depicting a fear of the dentist

Most people would rather suffer in pain from a toothache than visit the dentist. In some, the fear is so chronic that it is classified as a phobia, which in itself is a disorder. Regular dental checkups are necessary for proper dental hygiene, so it is important that you overcome your fear and pay the dentist a visit. However, to overcome dental anxiety, one must first know what causes it.


Causes of Dentophobia

A bad past experience at the dentist is classified as the most common cause of Odontophobia. In other people, dental phobia is as a result of anxiety over what might happen at the dentist’s. In such instances, the perceived dental experience is associated with a painful past memory such as the case with individuals suffering from PTSD or depression. Furthermore, some patients are not afraid of the pain, but apprehensive because they don’t want to lose control while strapped into a chair with someone hovering over them. Lastly, some people’s fear is based only on the bad experiences of their peers.


Here are some tips to overcoming your fear of the dentist:


1. Have Someone You Trust Accompany You

If you are feeling anxious and afraid about a dental checkup, have someone that you trust accompany you to the visit. This should happen until you are ready to try a visit on your own.


2. Relaxation Techniques

Learn a number of relaxation techniques to help you go through the experience. Breathing exercises and meditation are examples of such techniques. You should do them before and after the visit and if possible, during the examination. These should help you calm your nerves.


Young woman at the Dentist


3. Choose a Dentist You Can Trust

Ask people you trust to recommend a great dentist. Schedule a visit to talk to the dentist before you schedule an examination. Convey your fears to the dentist and evaluate his/her responses. A great dentist will be understanding and gentle with you. You might even be able to see the examination room before your scheduled visit. You should also go through the sedation options and alternatives available for the procedure.


4. Visit a Psychologist

A phobia is not your average kind of fear. If you are still afraid after trying these alternatives, you should seek professional help from a psychologist. The psychologist will know the best treatment alternative for your dental phobia. You might also want to consider visiting the psychologist as your first alternative, so that he/she can diagnose you and determine a way forward for you.

We are here to help you maintain a healthy smile. If you have any concern about a dental procedure or examination, please call and allow us to walk you through our processes!